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Computer Industry:
Mass Market or Customized Software: Which is the Right Choice?
 
Posted 30 months ago on 2/10/2018 and updated 9/16/2018
Take Away:

This article discusses the circumstances that make mass market or customized software the appropriate choice for a business.

KB102831

There are many business people who are faced with making a very important decision that will affect their companies for years to come. Should one choose off-the-shelf software like Microsoft Office or Intuit Quickbooks or some other industry specific canned package for running the company? Or would it be best to have a customized software solution built from the ground up? This is a very real challenge for management, because it can affect how efficiently the business can handle its day-to-day operations.

In general, off-the-shelf software is very good for a company as long as it’s for dealing with general business chores such as bookkeeping, customers, contacts, inventory, etc. If it’s something that is very narrow and industry specific, then a customized solution will usually be the better choice. This is because the custom program will generally do a much better job of economizing time and labor in comparison to what a canned software package will likely do for the specialized process at hand.

Using myself as an example, I have made a number of custom software solutions for small and medium size companies in my local area. While I can design software for most any industry per the customer’s guidelines, I have typically done it for “manufacturing businesses”. Industrial companies are typically running very specialized processes to facilitate what they do. I have made customized programming solutions such as these:

I made a job card application for an electroplating job shop. This is basically a “recipe rolodex” for a large number of electroplating processes. It details what part numbers are involved, type of metal used to plate as well as the various steps involved along with their corresponding times.

I also created software for a tool and die shop that scanned a lengthy text file. This file detailed the physical layout for a 2 dimensional side view of a piece of metal with circles and arcs in it. My program automatically removed the concentric arcs and circles from the text file that the CAD/CAM software they were using wouldn’t remove. This saved them enormous amounts of time and work.

I have worked for an industrial pattern shop for a long time. I created a job costing application that costs out pattern making jobs using labor, purchases and special materials from their data tables. This collective data is then “black boxed” through their proprietary job costing formula in their customized software. They can see how much money they are making or losing on each job. In addition to all the time and work saved, this gives management a close up look at what is really happening in the business.

These are just a few examples from my own experience that make the case for custom software. Trying to replicate the efficiency in the above mentioned examples with canned software would create so much hassle and wasted time that it wouldn’t even be worth it. Doing all the work by hand with pen and paper would be a nightmare to be sure. But it wouldn’t be much worse than trying to do it with off-the-shelf software that isn’t really made to cater to a highly specialized process in a fast paced business environment.


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Article Contributed By Douglas.M:

Please visit my software developer website for more information about my services. I offer application development as well as Android app coding services. My developer skills are best suited to dealing with custom software projects. I can perform programming for Corel Paradox as well as C# Sharp and PHP.

In my local area of northeast Ohio, I can cater to computer repair and "fix my computer" issues.

Use my contact web page today to reach me about any software design ideas you have.

Visit Profile

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